Causes of a Coated Tongue
While the problem of a white tongue can be easily corrected by cleaning off the excess debris that’s coating the tongue, it may also be a sign of a medical condition such as oral thrush, leukoplakia, oral lichen planus, hairy leukoplakia, or linea alba. Find out about these concerns and the best way to treat these troubles.
The Reason: This condition is also called candidiasis and it results from an excess of yeast in the mouth, which creates the appearance of a coated tongue. It often occurs after you’ve taken antibiotics, if you’re under stress, or facing an illness because these conditions disturb the balance of bacteria in your system.
The Remedy: The white sections of yeast can be quickly wiped away. This is why you should brush your tongue when brushing your teeth, especially if you’ve been sick or on medication. Why should you brush your tongue? Since the condition can develop at any time, brushing your tongue on a regular basis could help to prevent any possible problems. But to completely correct the problem, it should be treated with an antifungal medication, tablets, or lozenges that get your system back in balance.
The Reason: Unlike oral thrush, this type of white, coated tongue cannot be simply wiped away. The cause of this condition is sometimes uncertain, but it may be associated with tobacco use or a recurrent irritation in the mouth.
The Remedy: The solution can be as simple as stopping a smoking habit. Yet since it results from smoking, it may be an early indication of oral cancer. It’s wise to have your doctor do a biopsy and continually monitor the area for any changes.
Oral Lichen Planus
The Reason: This is a chronic inflammatory condition due to an autoimmune response. It can result in a coated tongue, yet the coating appears as a lace-like white pattern.
The Remedy: There is really no treatment since it is related to an autoimmune response, but it should be continually monitored by a doctor since any changes could indicate oral cancer.
The Reason: This type of white tongue is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus and it’s distinguished by a rough and hairy white patch on the side of the tongue.
The Remedy: The problem can be recurrent, so people with an immune-compromising condition are usually treated with antiviral medications. If you are not suffering from a weakened immune system, then an HIV test may be given to see if there is any correlation.
The Reason: Rather than a completely coated tongue, this benign condition results in a thin white line along the edges of the tongue. It is simply caused by an irritation or trauma from aggressive chewing.
The Remedy: Since it is basically caused by biting your tongue, no treatment is necessary, except time to heal.
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